Board 2020-2022

Waleska Santiago, President


Waleska Santiago  was a consultant for the Explorations in Puerto Rican Culture Program, run by the Massachussetts Cultural Council and the Springfield School Department. Over the last 14 years, she has pursued her interest in Latin American Art by visiting museums and galleries internationally  including Spain, England, Argentina, Mexico, Peru , and France. Waleska Santiago has been selected as a Latino Museum Studies Student at the National Museum of Natural History (NMNH), Smithsonia Institute, Washington DC. as a Fellow. She has a BA in Art History from Mount Holyoke College and a Master Degree in Museum Studies from Harvard University.


Her trajectory of research project has been: Women Artist in the Spanish-Speaking Caribbean, and included listings of women artist from Puerto Rico, Cuba and the Dominican Republic, born before 1900,  Nuestras Abuelas,  and  Madama: Women, Madonnas, and Mothers among others.















Heshima Moja, Vice-President

Heshima Moja is a dynamic Bassist, Vocalist, Composer, and Cultural Arts Presenter, who walks in a world where music, art and scholarship intersect. He is heavily guided in his work by the influences of Black Classical Music(often termed jazz), orchestral music, Afro-Cuban Rumba, Hip Hop, The Music of the Arab world, Sufi Music, Ghazals, Indian Classical Music, as well as other musical forms from throughout the African Diaspora, the work of James Baldwin, Eugenio Maria de Hostos, Gaye Theresa Johnson, Fernando Ortiz, Juan Flores, Maria Theresa Linares Savio, Steven Biko. Heshima believes that art should be used as a tool to aid in the development of critical consciousness and to inspire people to imagine new ways of being in the world.

Gaddier Rosario, Secretary


In 1996, Gaddier  establish the first artist studio in San Juan Puerto Rico, He perhaps this positioned it like one of the first sketcher of professional virtual reality in the Caribbean preparing illustrations and benefits for architects and designers as much at local level as international, standing out like photographer, illustrator and graphic designer.  The colorful and diverse artworks include oil paintings, pastel, Net art and mixed media pieces that showcase a variety of contemporary artistic trends.  The artist resided in Puerto Rico until he relocated to the New England in 2004. He has established the Gaddier Fine art and design studio in Open Square at heart of Holyoke’s Historic Canal District. Making several fine art exhibitions in New England and Puerto Rico, The artist also evolved in his own studio as editorial illustrator, graphic artist, photographer and art director.


 Dorothy Rivera, Treasurer


Dorothy is an International Business graduate of Bryant University who concentrated in Marketing and Finance. She is a member of Yoruba 2 and is usually in the chorus, dancing, or playing instruments. She  is won an apprenticeship -1998 and 2016. She is currently working as a Finance clerk at Segue School, Central Falls, RI.


Olga Silva


Olga Silva has been a community and political activist for years in Central Falls. She founded, organized, and promoted the Fiesta de Pueblo in Central Falls, since its creation in 1996, to its final year in 2005, with PRIAA backing her up every step. She is the Director of the Blackstone Valley Puerto Rican Cultural Committee.

Gina M. Camacho 


Gina Camacho is Olga Silva's assistant in all matters concerning Fiesta de Pueblo, organizing the Children's Parade, registration and its costumes. She is a coordinator of the Blackstone Valley Puerto Rican Cultural Committee.

Franscisco L. Gonzalez


Francisco L. Gonzalez, A volunteer-run tuition-free street academy providing pre-college immersions to youth and adults; a novel Humanities-based, Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics scaffolding curriculum is the school's pedagogical foundation.Franscisco L. Gonzalez have an extensive experience as Educational Paraprofessional. 

Advisory board


Gilberto Mota-México, Providence

Luis Roberto Arias-Dominican Republic, East Providence

Rebecca Flores- Puerto Rico, Cranston

Shey Rivera, Puerto Rico, Providence



Angie Lovegrove- Puerto Rico, East Providence

Brenda Valenzuela-Puerto Rico, North Providence

Liza Gordon-Perú, Cranston

Nelson Cataño-Colombia, Central Falls

L. Maria Rivera-Puerto Rico, Central Falls

New England

Carlos Santiago, Saints Artisan, Amherst, MA

Maria Perez, School Committee Woman, Springfield, MA

Veronica Robles, Veronica Robles Cultural Center, Boston, MA


  Lydia Pérez

 Founder and Executive Artistic Director


Lydia is the founder and the Artistic director of The Puerto Rican Institute for Arts and Advocacy (PRIAA), based in Rhode Island and founded in 1994. The institute champions the gathering and retention of cultural memory, language, and identity transmitting these across generations in the form of education through the arts, not only for Puerto Ricans, but for all Latinos and for all Rhode Island.


As the Founder and Executive Director of PRIAA, she has an extensive record of promoting activities that increase cross-cultural understanding, cultural awareness and self-esteem of children and adults.


Lydia has spent the last twenty four years as a performer, and cultural educator/activist in the U.S. Cuba and Puerto Rico. She is presenter, singer, drummer, dancer, composer, poetry and artisan. She has been recognized as a community asset by many organization in New England.

 Yidell Rivera

 Personal Assistant and Provider of Caribbean Arts


Yidell has work with the Puerto Rican Institute of the

Arts since 2000 as an Assistant for the Board of

Director through her work as part of her internship.

Now, she is a part time Administrative assistant of PRIAA. 


She has demonstrated leadership skills in computer media, including web site maintenance, video and

audio recording, and photography. 

She  reviews all proposals and she is in charge of filling out the Rhode Island Cultural Data Project, (CDP). She will help develop promotional media for PRIAA, including video, band web design.